The fishing village of Gourdon in Aberdeenshire is the place to find the best crabs. A huge amount are landed there and that’s where I get all my handpicked crab meat from. It features in today’s tart recipe. If you’re having guests round, or have a lot of folk to cook for, making one big tart is easier but you can also make individual tarts using about 60g of crab meat in each 10cm tart tin.
The pastry is a bit like a shortcrust pastry but because it has parmesan added to it, becomes like a deliciously cheesy cracker which goes fantastically well with crab and creamy leek filling. When it comes to making this dish at home you could either buy ready-picked crab meat or buy crab claws and remove the white meat yourself. Serve the tart with lightly dressed green salad (I just use lemon juice and olive oil here), and our smoky salsa, or a tomato-based chutney.
To finish this springtime treat, there’s lime and dark chocolate cheesecake to follow. This is one of my favourite puddings, a bit of a showstopper but easy to make at home.
GOURDON BAY CRAB AND PARMESAN TART
We often make individual tarts – using about 60g crabmeat in each, in a 10cm tart tin. But if you’ve got a lot of folk to cook for, a big tart is easier.
400g fresh white crabmeat (preferably Gourdon bay)
300ml double cream
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 leeks, sliced
3 spring onions, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
120g grated Parmesan
For the pastry:
175g plain flour
55g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 medium egg, beaten
First make the pastry. Rub the butter, flour, Parmesan and salt together in a mixing bowl until the mixture has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Then add the egg and bring it all together into a dough. Knead this lightly three or four times with floured hands. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for an hour before use. Pre heat the oven to 200C. Roll the pastry out 3mm thick and use to line a greased 25cm metal flan tin. Fill with greaseproof paper and baking beans and bake blind for 11 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for another 8-9 minutes, until lightly golden. Leave to cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180C. Whisk the eggs and cream together. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the leeks and spring onions until softened, but not coloured. Allow to cool slightly and fold into the egg mix. Add in the Parmesan, cayenne and the white crabmeat, mix through and turn out into the cooled tart. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until just firm.
NICK’S SMOKY SALSA
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered, seeds removed
Half a red chilli, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
A quarter of a tsp hot smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic
80ml olive oil
1 lime, zest and juice
6 basil leaves
Maldon sea salt
Peel the onion and the garlic and coarsely slice both, removing the shoot from the garlic if present. Heat a frying pan and add 60ml of olive oil. Add the onions and toss to brown and flavour the ingredients not burn them. As the onions take on colour, add the pepper slices with the tomato quarters. Give it a good stir then add the garlic and chilli. Cook for a couple of minutes more to cook the peppers and tomato without burning the garlic.
Tip everything into a bowl to cool and let the pan cool slightly. Add the water to the pan lifting the flavours from the base of the pan. Pour in the lime juice and mix well then tip the liquid over the cooling salsa. Once the bowl has cooled add the remaining olive oil, paprika and the torn basil leaves. Transfer the mix to a food processor and pulse to chop down to a rough salsa consistency. Don’t overdo the processing, too smooth and all the texture will be lost.
INDIVIDUAL LIME AND DARK CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKES
40g unsalted butter
100g digestive biscuits, crushed
200g Philadelphia cheese
195g Carnation condensed milk
2 limes, finely grated zest and juice
120g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
4 lime slices (1 pp)
100ml syrup (50/50 water & sugar)
For crème Anglaise:
6 egg yolks
65g caster sugar
Vanilla pod, split open
In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the crushed biscuits. Set four mousse rings on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Press the biscuit mix into the base of the ring and place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the soft cheese, condensed milk, lime zest and juice for five minutes until thick and glossy. Spoon the mixture over the biscuit base and chill for at least one hour, preferably overnight.
To finish, make the stock syrup, by boiling up 50g of sugar and 50ml water until reduced and thickened. Place in the lime slices and reduce until the sugar starts caramelising. The syrup will reduce to a sticky coating on the limes. Transfer the lime slices to baking parchment to drain.
Once the cheesecakes have set, remove the rings. Warming the rings with a blowtorch will make this easier. Place each cheesecake on to a serving plate. Melt the chocolate and drizzle over each cheesecake and plate and allow to set before serving. Place a sugared lime slice on each cheesecake and serve. Crème Anglaise goes very well with this.
To make crème Anglaise, put the milk and vanilla pod into a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy. Lift out the vanilla pod and whisk the hot milk into the yolks. Return to the pan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon lightly. Set aside.